People always say they are going to do it every year – stop being so sedentary, get more active, start being a little bit more health-conscious and take better care of themselves and the environment.
Then the dreaded January 2nd comes.
Now there’s no reason to let those New Year’s Resolutions fall by the wayside! Sure, it’s May, but the New Year includes the whole year. With the weather turning warmer and the rain starting to abate, maybe now is the perfect time to start acting on that whole ‘less sedentary’ thing and get off the couch (or out from behind the steering wheel).
Even better, hit all those resolutions in one stroke for this day. Bike to Work Day reminds everyone that just by changing their way of getting to work, they can accomplish all the goals they wanted to in one fell swoop. It’s not only good for the body, it’s good for the environment and will give you a mental boost too.
History of Bike to Work Day
Bike to Work Day was started by the League of American Bicyclists back in 1956 to promote the health benefits of cycling to work.
Although Bike to Work Day is technically only one day, it is definitely a good idea to try to get on that bike for more than just the day. In fact, Bike to Work Day actually forms a part of Bike to Work Week and National Bike Month. Now for some people, the idea of one bicycle commute is bad enough but for those who can’t get enough of 2 wheels, this means that they have the perfect excuse to get on their bike, not just for one day but for an entire month!
National Bike to Work Day Timeline
The bicycle is invented
Karl von Drais, a German baron, creates a two-wheeled steerable contraption that has one large wheel and a slightly smaller one behind it–and no pedals.
Inflatable tubes are invented
The experience of bike riding is changed significantly by this small but important invention from John Boyd Dunlop.
First Tour de France race is biked
Sixty men start in a Parisian suburb and ride this this unprecedented 1500 mile race on their bikes throughout the country over six stages.
First National Bike to Work Day begins
Started by the League of American Bicyclists, this day promotes the health benefits of riding a bike to work.
World’s first solar-powered bicycle path is revealed
In the Netherlands, a place known for bike-friendliness, an entire bike path is made with concrete modules embedded with solar panels with the idea of using the energy to power street lights.
Why Take Part in Bike to Work Day?
Learn About the Benefits of Bike to Work Day
So here’s the thing about biking to work, it’s not just an opportunity to get out and get healthy, it has a massive effect on every part of the whole day. Consider these ways that biking to work can help with life in general:
- Better mental organization:
Getting out and biking to work requires you to get up earlier than usual, in turn encouraging you to spend some time waking up before you head out the door, and giving you the chance to plan for other things to do with your extra time.
- Better work performance:
All of this will ensure that you are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by the time you make it into the office, invigorated by your ride and ready to face the day with a bright new perspective.
- Improved physical health and fitness:
It doesn’t just stop there either. The extra exercise you’re getting will have a direct positive influence on your diet, tastes, and goals. There’s something about exercise that makes you more aware and thoughtful about what you put into your body, and so if you have a few pounds to lose or simply want to be more conscious of your health, then cycling to work in the morning can be a great motivator.
- Saving money:
If health isn’t your biggest motivation then surely the potential cost savings can convince you to give Bike to Work Day a try? Biking to work will help you to cut a chunk out of your transportation costs, saving you money on public transport tickets if you usually take the bus or train and saving you money on gas and even insurance if you usually drive.
- Saving the planet:
Lastly, if for no other reason, then get on your bike for World Bike Day, to cut your carbon footprint and to help save the environment. The average car releases 271g of CO2 per kilometer driven, the average bus releases 101g of CO2 per kilometer driven and guess what? A bicycle releases just 16g of CO2 per kilometer driven, all of which comes from the fuel of the rider, aka your food.
The potential benefits of cycling are hard to deny, so what are you waiting for? Get those tires pumped up, hop on and give it a try!
How to Celebrate Bike to Work Day
The opportunities to get involved with Bike to Work Day are many and varied, so try out some of these ideas to get started:
Ride That Bike to Work
This one is a no-brainer there, because this is the day to get out and start riding your bike to work! Don’t be afraid to start small. Set yourself a goal to ride to work every Monday, then up it to twice a week. If you find yourself enjoying it then keep going–up to three, four or even five days a week.
Bike to Work with Friends
Even better, get a group of friends to join in on Bike to Work Day. Why have a car-pool when it’s just as possible to have a bike-pool! Okay, so maybe sharing a bike isn’t possible (except in the case of a tandem bike), but it’s still fun to ride bikes together.
Buy a New Bike
What could be a better way to celebrate Bike to Work Day than to pull up to the office on a shiny new bike. Whether its a road bike with rail-thin tires and super aerodynamics, or a city bike complete with a wicker basket and a bell, it will be fun to have a new bike to ride to work.
And don’t forget to pick up the other necessary gear, such as a helmet, special shoes, pedal grips, sunglasses and a backpack.
Visit a Cycle-Friendly City
While some cities might have bike lanes, many places can be less-than-hospitable to those who ride bikes on the regular. But there are places that value and support bikes and their bicyclists!
Some of the most bikeable cities in the world happen to be in Europe, which also works well in conjunction with their public transportation so that many people don’t even need to own a car. So head on over to one of these cities to get inspired about what it could be like to Bike to Work every day!
- Copenhagen, Denmark. Considered the most bikeable city in the world, Copenhagen has 675,000 bikes and only 120,000 cars. There are so many bikes here that bike lanes often get their own traffic signals and parking areas.
- Amsterdam, Netherlands. Home to approximately 850,000 bikes, Amsterdam limits car access in favor of bicycles to help with sustainability, traffic, health and more.
- Montreal, Canada. The top cycle-friendly city in North America, Montreal has its own bike festival each year and has been adding bike paths to equal more than 500 km throughout the city.
- Tokyo, Japan. Bikes seem to simply belong in this city that is otherwise rather congested. Almost 15% of commuters in Tokyo ride a bike to work and there are many bike sharing programs in place.
Bike to Work Day was started to give an additional push that might be needed to give bike riding to work a try. But whether you carry on with it in the long run is up to you. You’re much more likely to continue your cycling commute if you do it for long enough to see the benefits – so get on that bike and get riding!
National Bike to Work Day FAQs
Can bicycles ride on sidewalks?
In many communities, bikes are allowed on sidewalks where there is no appropriate biking lane. However, this might make them harder for motorists to see which could be a safety issue.
What are the benefits of bicycle riding?
Not only does riding a bicycle improve cardio, strengthen the lower body and improve posture, it also has mental benefits including boosting the mood and offering a peaceful escape.
What to wear to bike to work?
People who bike to work can wear comfortable clothes with fabric that won’t get caught in the spokes, sensible shoes (no high heels!) and a backpack or messenger bag.